Tuesday, November 11, 2008

So, who's going to pay for Phase III?

Several reports in local papers today (including this one in the Standard) about the HKTDC's initiative to support Hong Kong exporters with a HK$120 million package linked to its exhibitions. $80 million of this will be used to fund over-seas buyers with the remainder going in cash subsidies to exhibitors, according to the Standard.

The report says that the HKTDC will target buyers from Russia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia and mainland China as traditional sources of business in N. America and western Europe slow down. All very reasonable.

It notes, however, that the Council's capacity to offer more support is constrained by the fact that a sizeable chunk of its HK$860 million in reserves is needed to pay for the Phase 2.5 extension of its Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre now under way. The South China Morning Post (behind subscriber wall, sorry) puts that repayment at $720 million.

That leaves me wondering who is going to pay for the Phase III extension of HKCEC which TDC has been lobbying hard for and which the HK government now appears to be considering seriously (see Let them eat concrete). It's hard to imagine any banks being enthusiastic. So, the Hong Kong taxpayer looks like the likely candidate here doesn't it....

No comments: